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Developer interested in Avon land

Scott N. Millersmiller@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – A vacant lot in the heart of Avon may be filled with time-share condominiums. And it could happen fairly soon.Robert Ballard, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based developer, has been talking to Avon town staff about the prospects of building a 68-unit Wyndham Resorts time-share lodge on “Lot 61,” a one-acre vacant lot bordered on the north by Avon Center, on the west by the Seasons building, and with Benchmark Road running along the south. The town’s “transit center” would be right outside, and the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa – and its gondola – is right across the street.While there isn’t yet a formal application with the town, Ballard believes the groundwork is in place to perhaps start work as soon as next year, with a hopeful opening by late 2013.The Avon Town Council Tuesday was asked for its opinion about some policy questions related to the development, including parking and whether the building above ground level could be built with 30- to 40-foot overhangs over the street level.Council members generally agreed with the ideas, although some members wondered about the width of the proposed overhang, and if opening up the north side to vehicle traffic is a good idea along a lane that, at least in theory, is supposed to be for pedestrians.Those are the kinds of questions that will be debated in more detail when the project becomes a formal application.But the tougher questions likely involve the difficulties of building as much building as possible on a tight piece of property. From Ballard’s perspective, other potential problems lie in building to Wyndham’s specifications – including price. That can be especially tricky in a region with costs that have come down, but are still high compared to much of the rest of the country.Ballard said the units planned for the Lot 61 site would be “similar” in quality to those at the Starwood vacation club at the Westin. Units would average about 1,600 square feet each, and would be built to Wyndham’s “presidential” level.Ballard said he’s built for Wyndham – the country’s largest time-share operator – in Scottsdale, and has worked with the company on other projects, and said he’s excited to start work in this part of the country.Still, the valley has several projects that took more than one developer to finish. Avon Community Development Department director Sally Vecchio said when an application is submitted, it will have to come with Wyndham’s participation.Ballard said Wyndham doesn’t do its own development, instead putting that work out to contractors. During construction, Ballard and his company will have an ownership stake in order to get financing, and will then hand over the finished project to Wyndham.While the project will have to go through several steps toward approval with town officials, Ballard said the project so far has been well received even before it’s an official proposal.But, Vecchio said, there’s still a lot of work to do.”We’re still in due diligence, but it’s moving along,” she said.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.


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